'A fund for Thetford and its people' - £50,000 up for grabs to improve community life in the town
PUBLISHED: 15:02 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 18 October 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
Let's do our bit to help make Thetford an even greater place to live and work.
That was the resounding message as an innovative new fighting fund for the town was launched at an event made up of key members of the community.
Titled Thetford Shines Brighter, the Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF) scheme, run in partnership with the Eastern Daily Press and Thetford and Brandon Times, aims to put funding towards projects and schemes that support the good work already happening in the town.
The fund, to which anyone can contribute or apply to use, already stands at a staggering £50,000 and is growing by the day.
The project was officially launched on Thursday (October 17) at an event attended by key funders and leaders in the Thetford community, all with a collective desire to preserve the spirit of this unique town.
The NCF is a charity and partnership organisation which raises funds through donations given by individuals, families, businesses and charitable trusts to support smaller charities and voluntary groups within communities across the county.
With support from the EDP, this new project hopes to create "a Thetford fund for Thetford people" by supporting organisations that matter most to the people in the town.
Jo Pearson, Thetford businessman and vice chair of the NCF, along with Claire Cullens, chief executive, and David Powles, Editor-in-chief of the EDP, spoke at the launch and asked those who attended to help prioritise Thetford's most pressing issues.
Ms Cullens said: "Thetford is an urban centre, with rich history surrounded by countryside, half-way between Cambridge and Norwich. But with areas of real poverty, it is often over-looked for external funding and support and somehow left behind.
"We know that small and local charities and voluntary organisations are the glue that holds communities together and Thetford is unique in that is has a higher than average number of people who donate their time.
"But we know that local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.
"Through extensive research within the town and a survey of 100 local residents we have assembled eight key areas of action that gives us a framework to start to build a strong thriving community that looks after the most vulnerable."
Those at the meeting were asked by Mr Powles to choose out of the eight key areas, the issues they felt should be the top priority, which were then discussed.
The overall conclusion was that mental health and well-being, helping young people and the sustainability of good projects for future years, were amongst the most important.
Mr Powles said: "I'm delighted that we are involved in this innovative scheme from the foundation and, as someone who grew up nearby, chuffed that Thetford has been chosen as the first to benefit.
"It's clear to anyone who lives there or visits that Thetford has so much going for it, including a very strong community already doing some great work.
"I hope this money can be out towards helping those people and others to continue to improve the lives of everyone in the town."
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Speaking in the debate at the launch event, Dan Carter, Principal of Thetford Academy, said: "The concern was raised about children in Thetford coming to school hungry, we need to be very practical in what we can do about that. We want to start breakfast clubs as the only high school in the town.
"Children don't tell you they haven't been fed, but you see it and if they are not properly nourished they are more likely to not come to school because they get ill. We have had issues with children fainting in school and when we look they aren't eating properly. This needs to change. But there also needs to be support for parents."
To donate to the Thetford Shines Brighter fund, cheques payable to the Norfolk Community Foundation can be sent to St James Mill Whitefriars, NR3 1TN and mark cheques Thetford. To pay by standing order or bank transfer email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information and how to get involved visit, www.norfolkfoundation.com
'Thetford is a great town' - that was the message from key members of the community who spoke passionately at the launch of Thetford Shines Brighter.
Councillors, businesses, support workers and charities came together not only to discuss what issues need attention but also Thetford's successes and why so many people fall in love with the town.
Claire Cullens, chief executive of Norfolk Community Foundation said: "When we spoke with 100 residents we asked them what they love about the town and they said they were proud of the variety and strength of community groups, its open spaces and rural countryside, but more importantly the people who live and work in Thetford.
"The Thetford Shines Brighter fund wants to build on what is already a great town and help the community to thrive for years to come."
Jo Pearson is Thetford born and bred, as well as a businessman and vice chairman of Norfolk Community Fund, which is why he said this project is so close to his heart.
He said: "Thetford is full of tapped potential and untapped potential. Once people come here and begin to know it and feel the heart of it, they fall in love with the town. Of course I do but I have been here forever.
"It with thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses we are able to announce the Thetford fund already stands at £50,000.
"This project is important because resources are stretched everywhere, if we want local groups to continue to achieve the great successes they have then we must look locally for Thetford funding sources.
"This is a Thetford fund for Thetford, that will make a difference it makes to the lives of real people.
"We hope to make this fund the envy of every town in Norfolk, together Thetford will shine brighter."